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Why Matt Lauer’s ‘Commander in Chief’ Interviews Were an Unmitigated Disaster

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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Were Interviewed by Matt Lauer. It Didn’t Go Well. For Democracy.

Wednesday night NBC’s Matt Lauer held “Commander in Chief” pre-debate interviews in the USS Intrepid, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the first almost-debate of the 2016 general election. It didn’t go well. 

Why NBC News chief Andrew Lack decided Matt Lauer would be the perfect moderator is anyone’s guess. Rachel Maddow, whose MSNBC show is the new network’s crown jewel, and who literally wrote the book on the evening’s topic, was literally on deck to mop up at 9 PM after Lauer nearly sunk the ship.

In a nutshell, Lauer put the screws to Clinton, almost berating her over her emails, which have nothing to do with the event’s topic, while he effectively pour Trump a beer and sat back watching football. The systemic sexism was mind-boggling. 

Almost immediately, journalists (yours truly included) took to social media with jaws hanging open, shocked at the journalistic malpractice NBC News (remember NBC’s CNBC GOP debate that was also an unmitigated disaster?) has foisted upon the American democracy.

New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait penned a widely-circulated article titled, “Matt Lauer’s Pathetic Interview of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Is the Scariest Thing I’ve Seen in This Campaign.”

It begins, “I had not taken seriously the possibility that Donald Trump could win the presidency until I saw Matt Lauer host an hour-long interview with the two major party candidates. Lauer’s performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking.”

Chait sums up the consequences, noting that, as it turns out, the average voter, especially those who are still undecided, “subsist on a news diet supplied by the likes of Matt Lauer. And the reality transmitted to them from Lauer matches the reality of the polls, which is a world in which Clinton and Trump are equivalently flawed.”

In other words, Lauer has perpetrated the myth that either candidate is equally acceptable.

Veteran journalist and Huffington Post editor-at-large Michelangelo Signorile offered this insight hours after the event:

The New York Times (which has little right to criticize others after its extremely offensive anti-Clinton slanted coverage,) reports,” Mr. Lauer found himself besieged on Wednesday evening by critics of all political stripes, who accused the anchor of unfairness, sloppiness and even sexism in his handling of the event.”

Thursday morning, Signorile followed up, rightly telling the Times that what happened Wednesday was their fault in part, after their anti-Clinton coverage:

Raw Story rightly points to CNN senior media and politics reporter Dylan Byers’ analysis, saying Byers “crushed” Lauer:

“Political interviews, forums, town halls, debates, these are really big, significant deals,” Dylan Byers said on CNN (video below). “They’re especially big, significant deals given all that’s at stake in the 2016 election. You don’t send Matt Lauer to do a political reporter’s job. Look, in a debate, it might be fair to argue that you can let the two candidates fact-check each other. But when it comes to these one-on-one interviews, these forums, you have to step up and play that role. That onus is on you, and Matt Lauer didn’t do that. He certainly didn’t do that with Donald Trump. He didn’t do it on the Iraq War. He didn’t do it on a number of other issues and frankly, this criticism that he went a lot harder on Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, I think, is well founded.”

Rob Reiner also weighed in:

Others:

 

 

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ANALYSIS

George Conway Exposes Three Games Trump’s Lawyers Are Playing With FBI Affidavit

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Attorney George Conway revealed the games Donald Trump’s lawyers are playing after the FBI search of Mar-A-Lago.

Multiple media outlets have asked a judge to unseal the affidavit that justified the search, and Trump and his lawyers have publicly called for that evidence to be revealed — but Conway told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that it’s telling that they haven’t joined the request in court.

“Chances are good that while they would like to know the names of now two, possibly two people inside calling, you know — the call coming from inside the house,” said host Joe Scarborough. “Maybe there are two people now inside of Mar-A-Lago or inside of Trumpworld informing on him.”

“Donald Trump will do what Rudy does outside of courthouses and howl and make a scene,” Scarborough added. “But go inside the courtroom and stay silent. What Republicans in Washington, D.C. know, and I had friends tell me a couple days ago, it’s one of the reasons this IRS conspiracy theory started, is when they figured out how bad this is going to be for Trump. They’re trying to change the subject.”

READ MORE: Former Trump official warns GOP can’t win if it’s the party of ‘indictments, subpoenas and investigations’

Conway said Trump’s attorneys were essentially juggling three balls in the air.

“They’re trying to have it three ways,” he said. “They’re being mendaciously three-faced about it. First of all, they themselves would like to see the affidavit because, you know, Tony Soprano wants to know who is the rat. They want to see who is finking on them. That’s one. Two is, they don’t want us to see the affidavit because it’s bad. It’s a long affidavit, and it is going to have a lot of information about a lot of people saying a lot of bad things about the bad things that the president, the former president of the United States, did and how he squirrelled away these documents and refused to give them back when he was repeatedly told he had to give them back and was subpoenaed to return them. Then, third, they want an issue, a B.S. issue, so they can send out the fundraising grift emails to raise money by saying, ‘Oh, they’re hiding the affidavit from us.'”

Watch the video below or at this link.

 

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Florida Christian School Warns Parents All LGBTQ Students ‘Will Be Asked to Leave Immediately’

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Citing the Book of Leviticus a Florida K-12 private Christian school is telling parents any student found to be LGBTQ will be asked to leave “immediately.”

NBC News reports it “obtained an email from the Grace Christian School in Valrico, about 20 miles east of Tampa, sent before the beginning of the school year by Administrator Barry McKeen.”

The school’s email lumps being LGBTQ, or engaging in acts including “bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography” as “lifestyles.”

“We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; I Corinthians 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:2-7),” the email reads. “Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately,”

READ MORE: Authoritarian Orban at CPAC Texas Delivers Anti-LGBTQ Attack on Marriage to Standing Ovation: ‘Leave Our Kids Alone’

NBC News says the “June 6 correspondence to parents cited scripture and said that students will be referred to by the ‘gender on their birth certificates’ during the school year beginning this month. While the email refers to ‘biological gender,’ the National Institute of Health defines ‘gender’ as a social construct, as opposed to ‘sex,’ which is the biological difference between females and males.”

On its website Grace Christian says annual fees are up to $6595, plus items including books and other fees.

“It is our desire to provide the best Christian education and training for ALL children, for God is not a respecter of persons,” Grace Christian says. It calls “humanism, materialism, secularism, and New Age” philosophies “godless.”

The school’s website also says, “Students are only admitted when the administration believes that the parents and their church are in full support of the purposes and policies of the School. Expressions of dissention or lack of support for the School’s mission, policies, or leadership are grounds for dismissal of any students of a family in which such action occurs.”

“ALL STUDENTS are expected to abide by rules set forth by the administration. Attendance at Grace Christian School is considered a privilege and not a right. Students forfeit this privilege if they do not conform to the standards and ideals set forth by the administration. The school may insist on the withdrawal of any student that, in the opinion of the administration, does not conform to the spirit of the ministry.”

 

 

 

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Watch: McConnell Blasts GOP ‘Candidate Quality’ as He Admits Democrats Likely to Keep Senate

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Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a surprising admission Thursday: the GOP’s candidates running for Senate may not be good enough for Republicans to take control of the chamber he once led as Majority Leader.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell responded when asked at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon about his projections for the upcoming November elections, as NBC News reported.

“Senate races are just different,” he explained. “Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”

READ MORE: Watch: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Likens Mitch McConnell to Segregationists Like Strom Thurmond by Using His Own Words

“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” McConnell added, wrongly.

The country is not 50-50.

According to a Gallup poll conducted over a three week period in July, 28% of Americans identify as Republican, 29% as Democratic, and 41% as independent.

Thanks in large part to Donald Trump, “candidate quality” is definitely a challenge for the GOP.

There are 35 Senate seats up for (re)election in November, 14 are held by Democrats and 21 by Republicans. Possibly sensing the headwinds five GOP Senators and just one Democratic Senator are not running for reelection and are retiring.

Among the Republican candidates running, several likely will held Democrats keep control of the chamber, including Mehmet Oz (Pennsylvania) and Herschel Walker (Georgia).

The GOP pulling cash out of races it may think its candidates cannot win.

“As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan,” Politico on Monday reported.

Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight currently shows Democrats have a 64 in 100 chance of retaining the Senate, a number that’s been growing: On July 22 it was 50-50.

Watch Leader McConnell below or at this link:

 

 

 

 

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